You may have seen a youth group that has just settled. The students know what is coming next in program, you have not done anything new in five years, there is a lot of insider talk going on and any new people that want to come to youth group find themselves left out. You have probably played the same games every four months, the lessons seem to be oddly similar week to week, and praise and worship has become stale. I have been to a couple of them and I find my heart breaking for what more their could be.
I have worked in some very different places as I have served as a paid youth worker. Sometimes the community of youth workers did amazing ministry that inspired me to go far and above what I thought was good enough for youth ministry. Other times, I have served in an area where the youth workers did just enough to look good and get their pay check. The organization I am working with now, Club Beyond, does not settle for good enough.
We do youth ministry in chapels on military bases which means we have high expectations for being great in ministry. Traditions can be a great thing, but if not navigated well, you can fall into a youth ministry rut.
So is your youth ministry settling for good enough? Take this quick survey:
- What is the state of the spiritual formation of your students?
- Has your youth group format changed at all in three months?
- Do your students ask the tough questions and do you address those questions at some point?
- Are you excited the day of your meeting or think more about what is going to happen afterwards?
- Have your teenagers, volunteers, parents, and yourself been challenged at all in the last four meetings?
These might not be fun questions to answer, but for your students to thrive at youth group, you need to provide a ministry that is thriving too.
Jeremy Smith is a 26-year old youth pastor at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Master”s of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years — check out his blog at Seventy8Productions.